In our car we have an auto pass that allows us to charge the cost of tolls. Even better, it means I do not have to stop at the toll booth. This works well, most of the time. But one day, I realized that one of our kids had borrowed the pass, and it was nowhere to be found. I pulled into the change part of the tollway and began fumbling for coins. Ignoring the looks from drivers behind me, I searched our car and even the ground below the basket. Clearly, I wasn't prepared. I hadn't counted the cost of driving on that tollway.
Some people are like that in their spiritual beliefs. They appreciate the idea of Christianity but haven’t considered what it costs to follow Jesus. In Mark, chapter 10, a wealthy young man approached Jesus. He admired Jesus, calling Him “Good teacher,” and asked how he could be guaranteed eternal life. Jesus gave him a challenging command, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (v. 21). In essence, Jesus said this: If you follow me, it’s going to cost you something. This wasn’t what the man wanted to hear. Jesus’ answer demanded much more than he was prepared to give. Verse 22 records: “He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Jesus drew a line between being a fan and becoming a true follower.
I knew a young man who, at 17, decided to get baptized. When he told his mother, she said, “I’d rather have you be dead than be one of those people.” This young man went ahead and was baptized, not out of disrespect, but because he had to choose God over his mom. His decision to put Christ first cost him something. The disciples, after watching the rich young man leave, asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” (v. 26). Jesus explained that there is a cost to following Him. “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:38–39).
Martin Luther said, “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” When we follow Christ, there’s a price to pay. Are you ready to follow? If so, you must count the cost. Decide today to make Him number one in your life. Choose Him. Follow Him.